The inspiration for Iran Musings
came out of an incredible writing workshop on Iranian identity held in January 2015 at the Persian Center
in Berkeley, CA. Led by acclaimed authors Persis Karim
and Anita Amirrezvani
, the workshop “Exploring Iranian Identity
” brought together writers from across the Iranian spectrum. This diverse and multi-generational group included people who were born and educated in Iran, individuals with both Iranian and American parentage, and Americans married to Iranians, among others. We came together for two inspired days to write, read, and share our work. The recurring themes that arose over the course of the workshop clarified the urgent need for voices that speak to the Iranian diaspora experience and that counter the vilification of Iran in the news media. “Publish your work,” Persis and Anita urged us. “The narrative needs to be elevated beyond the political rhetoric in ways that allow a more nuanced view of Iran and Iranian culture.” Their main point was that we’ll never move the conversation forward if Americans don’t see the human side of Iran and Iranian people.
From the fertile soil of this workshop grew the anthology Iran Musings: Stories and Memories from the Iranian Diaspora. We the editors–Leila Emery, who traveled from North Carolina to participate, and Katherine Whitney, who attended the workshop for the second time–have taken our teachers’ impassioned manifesto and hope to create a non-fiction anthology that showcases the diversity of Iranian experiences as well as work from non-Iranians who feel a connection to Iranian culture. We have encouraged our fellow workshoppers to submit their non-fiction work, and we look forward to a wide assortment of pieces that fill in the gaps in the general public’s understanding of Iran and Iranians. For information on submitting your work, please see the Call for Submissions.